The European Union and Education in Spain

  • José Luis García Garrido
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 22)

The title at the head of this article could give rise to many diverse interpretations. One of these is the study of to what degree the Spanish education system relates to the education policy which the European Economic Community first and the European Union later have drawn up since their creation. Without doubting the interest of this line of exploration, I prefer one that seems to me more realistic and revealing in the present circumstances. In my opinion, the European Union, in educational matters, is none other than the sum of all its parts. In other words, I am not convinced that its member states have given the Union the possibility of implementing a real community education policy or that they are going to do so in the near future. The States which compose the European Union jealously keep exclusive control over their respective education systems and it seems they wish to continue that way while accepting, not without resistance, that Brussels may collaborate in establishing certain common lines of action.

The aim of the following pages is, therefore, to place the present Spanish education system in its natural framework which is without doubt that of the European Union. However, I will consider more the different States that compose it and their respective policies rather than the education policy of the Union itself, a policy which is, I feel, doubtful. I would like to examine, ultimately, in what sense the Spanish education system is homologous to that of the principle States of the European Union. An ambitious aim, without doubt, which contrasts the lack of space available and the complexity of the topic. Given these limitations, I am forced to choose a few points that I consider of major importance regarding the presence of the Spanish education system within the European Union. In particular, I will refer only to three. The first, of a historical nature, hopes to illustrate many of the present-day differences. The second point refers to what many Spanish academics and I consider the macro-problem facing the Spanish education system: its own nature as an education system. Finally, I will try to list, briefly, some of the main deficiencies which affect the Spanish education system with the European framework.


Education System Education Policy Social Initiative European Economic Community Autonomous Community 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Luis García Garrido
    • 1
  1. 1.Spanish Open University (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)Madrid

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